The latest issue of SI had as it's cover story a piece titled "Back to the Future" and it's a look by Lee Jenkins at the return to the Caviliers of LeBron James. Jenkins is an excellent writer and it totally made sense to me that James chose Sports Illustrated through Jenkins as the place to annouce the Cavs as his choice given the extremely thorough profile on James that Jenkins wrote in December 2012 for SI (and which I did a lengthly blog post on it's construction).
The recent ESPN issue had as it's largest feature story the great piece "Awakening The Giant" by Seth Wickersham on long-retired NFL star Y.A. Tittle. Each of the stories from Wickersham I've posted on previously were related to football and this probably my favorite story by him as it's a riveting telling of Tittle's life at 87 and the effects of dementia... and correspondingly on his daughter who helps care for him.
The two ESPN World Cup pieces were both by Chris Jones and marvelous storytelling with first "U.S. campaign reaches end of the line" from July 1st and then "Memories of the World Cup" written just prior to the final between Germany and Argentina. Both stories are creatively put together with the U.S. team piece going man by man through many of the players and the Cup wrapup sort of walking a path (well, actually very much walking a path with how Jones wrote it) through the tournament.